Editor’s note: The original illustration attached to this story was removed for internal reasons.
How do I feel about homecoming? Oh, I’m so excited.
Homecoming day is here, and all the kids who once left me get to come back. They play a fun football game, the rally kids have cheers and Missus Christ will be there. It’ll be so much fun, especially when all the confetti gets thrown around and all the new kids try to take pictures with me.
It’s nice when everyone says hi. But I wish I could say hi back. The kid inside me, they’re not allowed to talk because Oski’s mute, you know? I’m supposed to be mute, so even this is weird. They think I’m just a suit. They think they can just wear me around. Well, golly, they’re in for a surprise.
Homecoming, though, right? It’s one of the weekends when they let me out to see all the kids, too. For sports games, they let me out a little and a kid wears me around. I like it when there are games at Underhill Field, so I can walk around near the dorms and all the really new kids can see me. Some of them even stop by when I’m near Crossroads.
They’re all a ‘lil different, you know, the kids. Oh yeah, of course you’d know. You’re one of them! All students, graduated or not, are all my kiddies ‘cause I get to watch them grow. And you’re all so small. See, even you’d probably fit in me, in my suit.
I know, I know — you said you saw me last time at the football game! I do get out a lot, I know, but it’s weird. I wish they’d put a schedule here so I could see it. And a calendar. I don’t know what days they let me outside. I can’t wait for them to let me outside.
They’re gonna let me out soon, though, don’t you know? That’s why you’re here, right? You want to know what it’s like to be me on the big day, isn’t that what you said?
Well, I go outside. There are some old kids who say hi and take pictures with me, and then there are some new kids. The new kids aren’t always the nicest, but some of them are really sweet. They make these things about me — I think they’re called memes? But sometimes there are memes about me that use pictures of me.
Either way, I love going outside. You get to go outside or stay inside whenever you please, but I don’t. It’s not like I’m never outside. But I’d love to have a say in it, you know? I’d love to have a say in any of this.
Like, I wish we’d do something other than football. I’ve got to say, I think I’d like football a lot more if Rosy Bowl hadn’t left me so many times in 1940. I like it when I get to go watch other sports. It’s fun being at football games, yeah, but. … OK, no. I just wish we won them more often.
I wish the students would let me pick what air freshener they use on me. The kids usually pick, and that’s great, but the kids are only wearing me for so long. Once they leave and I start smelling again, I’d like it if they sprayed me a few times more. I don’t like smelling like sweat, either. Don’t they ever think of me? Why don’t they ever think of me?
Oh, sorry. What were we talking about?
Oh, Missus Christ? It was so nice to see her come back. She was always a good teacher, very happy, smiled whenever she saw me. Mister Dirks was all right, but I remember Missus Christ. She used to teach here; it was really nice that she came back. People don’t always.
I miss Rocky. Oh, do you know Rocky? He made me. He and that Warrington kid, they both made me, and I used to be in The Daily Californian. Those were fun, fun times, back when I was chasing Missus Rosy Bowl. I haven’t seen Rocky in a long while, though. Same with Warrington. They never thought I was scary, though, like some of the kids do now. Back then, no one thought I was scary.
I don’t know what happened to the kids nowadays. I don’t look scary, do I? You don’t think I’m scary, right?
You’re shaking your head. No, yeah, you don’t think I’m scary, right? I’m just a little lonely. It’s not every day that your old pal Oski gets to up and walk around. I wish more kids came down here. Maybe they shouldn’t leave. Maybe you shouldn’t leave.
What do I wish people knew? The kids? Well, I wish the kids knew how much I loved them. Yeah, I love all you students so, so much. You’re all doing great!
Another thing I wish people knew is how hard it is to be me. Everyone calls me scary, you know, and I’m not! You said so yourself. Some kids pose with me and then, while they’re walking away, they say I’m scary. I don’t know how they do that with a straight face.
And I wish they’d take me out of here a little more. It’s so dark in this closet. And musty. There isn’t a lot to do. I wish someone would stay more often. Is that why no one stays? Because I’m scary?
I just want someone to stay. You could stay. Stay here, with me. We’ll be Oski together.
We’ll be Oski together, forever.